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Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

As his popularity wanes, this time after a broken promise not to raise taxes, Boris Johnson has announced a vaccination campaign to offer booster shots to people 50 and over, as well as the first three million vaccines. of children, aged 12 to 15 – while reiterating its wish to avoid future confinements.

If winter brought a wave of new coronavirus cases, however, the British Prime Minister could reintroduce mandatory mask wear, roll out vaccine passports and urge workers to stay home if possible, as part of what the government wants. calls his “plan B”.

While surveys generally show the British public support for strict measures to contain the virus, the lockdown restrictions are anathema to a vocal libertarian wing of Johnson’s own Tory party. Britain still reports more than 25,000 cases of the virus a day and hospitalizations are around 1,000 a day, straining the country’s healthcare system.

Analysis: For the first time in months, poll scores are dropping for the ruling Conservative Party. There are growing doubts about Johnson’s promise to ‘level’ economically disadvantaged areas, while some of the new voters he attracted in the 2019 election may walk away.

In just four years, CNews has become the leading information network in France. Following the Fox News model, the network claims it tells viewers what the ‘awake’ mainstream media won’t do, by focusing on opinion and providing a platform for far-right politicians, to opponents of the fight against climate change and to individuals who have spread disinformation. on the Covid-19.

CNews is increasingly shaping the national debate, especially on issues such as crime and immigration that are expected to influence next year’s French presidential election. Its most popular personality, Eric Zemmour, has been banned from the airwaves by the country’s broadcasting regulator because he is seen as a likely candidate for the presidency – and with a real chance of overturning the race.

In two rulings on Zemmour’s comments, the regulator put CNews on notice and fined CNews in March for inciting racial hatred – the first time a news network has faced such a sanction. Since June, CNews has been warned twice for failing to provide a diversity of opinion or for giving disproportionate airtime to the far-right National Rally.

Origin story: CNews emerged at a time of particular discontent – in the aftermath of the 2018 “yellow vests” protests. “People were fed up with political correctness,” said Serge Nedjar, the network’s manager. “The information was in the hands of newspapers, televisions and dailies which all said the same thing. “

Al-Qaeda could rebuild itself in Afghanistan within one to two years, US intelligence officials have said. The new timetable is not a drastic change from previous projections, but it reflects the reality that the Taliban have limited ability to control borders.

While the Taliban have long fought the Islamic State affiliate, they are established allies of Al Qaeda. Although the Taliban pledged in the February 2020 peace deal with the United States not to let Afghanistan be used by terrorist groups, analysts have said such promises ring hollow.

“The current assessment is probably one to two years for Al Qaeda to acquire some capacity to at least threaten the homeland,” Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said yesterday at the summit. annual intelligence and national security.

It is never too late to follow your spiritual calling.

After coming out as a transgender woman, Vica Steel, a married schoolteacher who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, gave up her dream of running a church. Until now.

Taking a look at the new season in The New Abnormal, our chief film critics Manohla Dargis and AO Scott ask: Are we on the dawn of a new era, or will that too pass. ? Read their full conversation here.

AO SCOTT: Judged solely from the list of upcoming releases (some retained from 2020), this future looks a lot like the recent past. Cinema as we have known it still seems to exist.

At the same time, but not for the first time, it is widely feared that he is in danger of death. Some of this anxiety is specific to Covid. No one knows when or how this affair will end, and whether audiences will return to theaters in sufficient numbers to revive old business models.

MANOHLA DARGIS: That we are social animals is what made me think we would go back to the movies, and there is too much money at stake. Cinema has always had its ups and downs.

But the habit of watching on demand, anytime, anywhere has been overwhelming, which is bad for exposure but good for the multinational companies that own the studios as they also own the companies that. move things around homes. I am much more worried about non-industrial cinema and whether its audiences will return to the cinema.

SCOTT: What you and I and others in our aging population understood by “going to the movies” may have been superseded by a different menu of choices and practices. Children today have not developed it in the same way. They have more screens, more options and different reasons to buy a ticket.

DARGIS: Movies, unlike branded entertainment, need to live in the world, not just on personal devices. This is not about the putative romance of cinema, but about how people experience art and culture, because if we are talking about infrastructure, we are also talking about fun – the fun of the cinematic object, and the pleasure of your company and your conversation. .

Topped with egg coulis, this velvety pan-fried dish includes eggplants and tomatoes seasoned with garlic, spices and lemon zest.

The Booker Prize has announced its six finalists for one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes. Check out this year’s shortlist.

Ten important lessons our wine critic Eric Asimov learned in seven years of writing his Wine School column.